MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has told French President Emmanuel Macron that Moscow is ready for talks with Ukraine.
The Kremlin said in its readout of Tuesday’s call that “despite Kyiv’s inconsistency and its lack of readiness for serious work, the Russian side is still ready for dialogue.”
The Kremlin added that Putin also informed Macron about the course of Russia’s “special military operation.” It added that the two leaders also discussed the global food security and Putin underlined that Western sanctions have exacerbated the situation.
The comments come as a dire situation unfolds in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine said in a statement that 101 women, men, children, and older persons left the Azovstal steelworks plant. The news for those left behind was more grim.
The deputy commander of the Azov Regiment is holed up in the plant. He told The Associated Press that Russian forces were storming the facility, which includes a warren of underground tunnels and bunkers. Another Ukrainian officer confirmed the assault on Ukrainian television.